Donald Gene Harden (March 16, 1928 - March 7, 2012) was the man who solved the 408 cipher along with his wife, Bettye June "Valerie" Harden. 

Early life Edit

Donald Gene Harden was born to J Clinton Harden (1893 -1971) and Ethel Harden (1895- ?) in Michigan. He spent his childhood on 106 courtland Street, Cass County, Dowagiac City, Michigan.His father named him Don G Harden because he believed subtly naming him Don Harden would give him the chance to conquer adversity like a hero. Harden eventually finished elementary, middle and high school. He went to Kalamazoo College from 1950 to 1951. He then went to University of Florida, Gainesville in 1956 for his master degree in education. During his time in University of Florida, Don gained experience by deciphering codes. Harden eventually graduated from the university. Harden began to teach at Howard High School in Orlando, Florida. Don eventually left Howard High School and went to teach at Aurora Central High School in Denver, Colorado in 1960. In 1960, Harden left Aurora Central High School and moved to Salinas, California. He began teaching at North Salinas High School in 1960.  

Donald Harden, the man who, along with his wife Bettye, solved Zodiac's 408 cipher. This is Don Harden as he looks at the cipher and makes his key

Solving the code Edit

One day, in 1969, Harden and his wife's lives changed completely when a unknown person sent 3 cryptograms to 3 different newspapers. The unknown person demanded that the newspapers print the cryptograms completely or he will go on a rampage. None of the top experts were able to solve the codes completely. One of the newspapers got a call from Harden and his wife, saying that they solved the code completely. Harden told the reporter how he and his wife broke the code completely. The rest is history. Harden got front page on August 9, 1969.

Aftermath Edit

Some time after Harden broke the code, he joined real estate in 1969. He continued teaching until he retired in 1980. In 1980, he continued to be in real estate. Bettye and Don eventually divorced and she died in 2001. Don remarried in the 1990s. Harden was interviewed several times in 2007.

Death Edit

Harden died peacefully from an illness on March 7, 2012. His body was donated to Science Care and they cremated his body.

Personality Edit

Don Harden was said to be a gentle person. His favorite movie was The Man With Two Brains.

Clues that Donald Harden and his wife was Zodiac. Edit

  • The initials D and H are hidden in the bus-bomb diagram.
  • The 408 cipher. 4=D 0=space 8=H.
  • After Harden decoded the 408 cipher The Zodiac described himself as "crackproof". Implying no one could or has cracked the code but the Zodiac himself.
  • The 408 cipher had 54 unique symbols, Harden's address was #54 at that time in 1969. The Zodiac said he killed 7 victims, when really it was only 5, he lied about August the 8th month. The Melvin Belli meeting address that Zodiac gave was 6726 St Vincent De Paul Thrift Shop. Harden's last 4 digits of his phone number back then were 6726 exactly. He gave his whole phone number 408-758-6726.
  • The handwriting is an exact match to Donald, and Bettye in others.
  • Zodiac was known to have an ego. Donald Harden revealed himself to have an ego during his 1969 interviews.
  • Harden matches the police sketches exactly.
  • Zodiac mentioned a lot of school threats. Donald Harden was a school teacher.
  • Zodiac was believed to be a movie buff. Harden was revealed to be a movie buff in one of his 2007 interviews.
  • Zodiac was believed to be in military. Harden's father was in military.
  • The postcards sent by The Zodiac all advertise real estate to which Harden was a venture and associate.
  • Zodiac mentioned to survivor Bryan Hartnell that he was from Colorado. Harden was in Colorado in 1960.
  • The first cipher anagram reads "Donald Gene Harden Salinas School Teacher".
  • William Baker diagnosed Zodiac as paranoid and schizophrenic. Harden's wife had schizophrenia. Harden's wife was also paranoid. Evidence of her being paranoid is that she was said to be afraid of a reporter.
  • In the My Name Is letter sent by the Zodiac, there are 13 characters indicating the amount of letters in the Zodiac's true name. Don Gene Harden fits this exactly.
  • Zodiac sent a card depicting a dragon. The dragon is part of the Chinese Zodiac. Harden was born in 1928, the year of the dragon.
  • Zodiac kill people near water. Harden's zodiac sign is the water sign Pisces.
  • Zodiac does lots of spacing, unusual commas, unusual dots, and periods, capitalizing letters when it is not necessary in all of his letters. Harden did the same thing in his worksheets.
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